Last year my lovely wife and I were on a Transatlantic Crossing that failed, due to weather, to go to Northern Ireland, Iceland, and Greenland. We tried again this year on a cruise that went from England to Bergen, Norway, the Shetland Islands, ports in Iceland and Newfoundland. Weather conditions did not allow us to go to the port of Isafjodur in Iceland, but the other ports were wonderful, and we had good weather in the ports as well.
We flew from Dulles, near our home, to Heathrow on the night of September 4. That gave us the fifth, sixth, and seventh in England before the cruise on the eighth. We took the Underground into London, going to Waterloo Station near our hotel. On a scale of one to ten, the location was a ten. We could walk in five minutes or so to the London Eye or across the Westminster Bridge to Big Ben and Parliament and Westminster Abbey. Because of the location, there was a cluster of hotels in that area. We walked down to the Victoria Coach Station and scheduled a long tour on Saturday, the sixth. On Friday, we explored our area of London, including Buckingham Palace, going by New Scotland Yard, Hyde Park, Green Park, St. James Park, etc. There were nearby theaters showing Wicked and Billy Elliot. The Book of Mormon was not very far away, but we did not manage to take advantage due to fatigue. Our tour on the sixth took us to Stratford, the Cots wolds, Bath, and Stonehenge. Obama was at Stonehenge the day before we were. Lovely weather. We took the train from Waterloo Station to Southampton Central Station. We took a short walk from the station to our hotel in Southampton. We explored the core area of the city and had a very good dinner at the hotel. The next day the hotel staff said we could walk to the ship in ten minutes. Actually, it took us a half hour with luggage. I would not recommend it, although the couple walking ahead of us with bigger suitcases, said they were fine once they could actually see the ship.
Embarkation was a breeze and our bags were delivered promptly. We could go to our room right away. It was a portside Caribe Deck Balcony room. One might think we could not use the balcony much, but they was lots of sun and good weather, and we were able to use it a lot. Our room was very comfortable and the steward very friendly and good at his job. Food room service was extremely good and prompt.
The Cruise Critic M&G was quite large and went well.
We ate at 5:30 at a table for eight. Our tablemates were wonderful and we had almost all dinners together. The food was very good. The service was pleasant but no as smooth and efficient as one might hope. The buffet was very good. There were days too rough to use the pools, and it would have been nice to have had a enclosed pool option. Still, I had some very nice swims, and the hot tubs were good and hardly ever crowded. The ship always handled well and Commore Romano did his very best to make sure we were safe and comfortable.
With few exceptions, the entertainment was very, very good. This ship was quite efficient in trying to make sure that at high demand seatings there were no seats going to waste. They did this with great humor and civility.
Bergen, Norway was a wonderful port. Well worth a visit.
Lerwick on Mainland, the largest of the Shetland Islands, was a very nice town. The tour we took to the south of the Island to see ruins going back 4000 years and the viewing of the 2000 year old, intact Broch of Mousa was one of several highpoints, which definitely included the hundreds of Shetland ponies we saw.
On the crossing to Iceland we saw the Northern Lights and crossed the Arctic Circle. A wonderful day and night.
Akureyri, Iceland and the surrounding countryside was wonderful to visit. A good folk life history museum, a spectacular waterfall, and, possibly, the World's most northerly arboretum gardens, which were in bloom.
Reykjavik is a very attractive, pleasant city. Our tour took us through interest country, through the rift valley where the North American Plate and Eurasian Plate are pulling away from each other, to the hot springs and Geysers that gave Geysers all over the World their name. There is a "faithful" geyser there named Strokker. We watch it spout off several times during our visit. We also visited a state of the art geothermal power plant on our way back to Reykjavik.
We had three nice sea days crossing to St. Johns, Newfoundland. It started off rough and winding, but settled down.
St. Johns was lovely. We explored the city and walked to the charming village of Quidi Vidi to drink beer made from icebergs.
The two days at sea to New York were fine and smooth. We got up to watch the ship go under the Verrazano Bridge and by the Statue of Liberty. The ship berth is in a place with amazing views of New York City.
I walked the High Line, before we took Amtrak home.
Very comfortable room in good repair. Adequate closet and storage. Decent television programming that stood up well on a Transatlantic. The shelf area added in the shower to hold the shampoo dispenser was a good addition. We could hang razors there. Caribe Deck balconies are large. They have both open and shaded areas. The privacy partitions are effective wind breaks.